What happens when I first see a healthcare professional?

What happens when I first see a healthcare professional?

If you think that your care does not match what is described in this information, please talk to a member of your healthcare team in the first instance.

If your GP thinks you may have borderline personality disorder, you should be offered an appointment with your community mental health service for an assessment.

In your assessment the healthcare professional should clearly explain the process, and what having borderline personality disorder means. They will ask you about your thoughts, feelings and behaviour and how you cope with any problems in different areas of your life, including any other mental health problems. They will also discuss with you whether you need psychological treatment, social care and support in getting suitable education, training or work. They should develop a plan (called a care plan) for your treatment and care.

Your healthcare professional should also discuss with you any behaviour that may be a risk to yourself or others. This is so that together you can develop a plan to get the right care and support.

If you need support after the assessment, particularly if you have been asked about any sensitive or distressing issues, your healthcare professional will be able to arrange it for you.

If you have a mild learning disability, your assessment should be done in consultation with a specialist in learning disabilities. You should be offered the same services as other people with borderline personality disorder. People with a moderate or severe learning disability should not normally be given a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. However if a healthcare professional thinks that the person's symptoms and behaviour suggest a personality disorder, they should be offered an assessment with a specialist in learning disabilities.

If your first contact with healthcare services is after you have harmed yourself, you should be treated according to the NICE guideline on self-harm (See www.nice.org.uk/CG16).

If you are offered an appointment for an assessment with another service (including for psychological treatment) you should still be offered support while you are waiting for an appointment.

Young people (under 18) with borderline personality disorder (or problems that suggest that they may have borderline personality disorder)

If a professional in health, social care or education is concerned that a young person may have borderline personality disorder they should offer them an appointment with child and adolescent mental health services for an assessment.

Young people should be offered the full range of treatments described in this information within child and adolescent mental health services.

Young people with severe symptoms should be able to receive specialist treatment. This may be in hospital (either staying over night or as an outpatient) or at home.

The young person may still receive care from child and adolescent mental health services even after they turn 18, if this is in their best interests.

Questions you might like to ask your healthcare team

  • Why have I been given this diagnosis?

  • Can I expect a positive outcome from treatment?

  • Who can I contact in a crisis?

  • Are there any support organisations in my local area?

  • Can you provide any information for my family or carers?